Tennis aces Roger Federer and Serena Williams made surprise appearances in Bermondsey at the new ‘NikeClub Court’ in Tanner Street Park.
The Swiss superstar stunned young tennis players with his unannounced appearance, holding a Q&A and rallying with the stars of tomorrow on the brightly-coloured refurbished courts.
He told the crowd: “I think the new court is really cool. I have never played on a pink court before – although I am surrounded by pink in my life because of my daughters!
“In an area like this, to create something for the long term, for kids to take up tennis, I’m all for it. I hope it’s going to work out for the people here in the community.”
The 16-time Grand Slam champion also talked about Wimbledon, which he described as “innovative and historic”, and the differences between himself and Rafa Nadal – namely, the latter’s eagerness to wear Capri pants.
Delighted tennis fans then got a chance to play with the man himself, rallying with the Swiss star on the new courts. Rising England tennis player Kyle Edmund also took part in the fun.
Serena Williams also visited the following day, rallying with the kids and taking a group selfie from the umpires chair.
The four courts refurbished following a £17,500 grant from Nike, in partnership with Southwark Council and the Lawn Tennis Association.
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark cabinet member for public health, parks and leisure said, “We are really excited to be able to welcome Nike and the LTA to Southwark this week to launch a fantastic community engagement programme that will run alongside The Championships, Wimbledon this year. Getting into sport from a young age helps people grow into healthy, active adults.
“The Tanner Street courts are much-loved and well-used locally which is why we were delighted when Nike offered the council a £17.5k grant to invest in the renovation of court facilities. I would like to thank Nike for this contribution to grassroots sport in Southwark, and I’m sure residents will welcome this investment in local sporting facilities.”
From now until July 4, free tennis coaching and fitness sessions will be available for players of all ages at the revamped courts. To book a session visit: http://go.nike.com/nikecourtclub.